Car companies courting Saudi Arabia’s newest drivers: women – Middle East


Despite being barred from driving, a woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia, October 22, 2013..
(photo credit:REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia’s now-eligible nine million female drivers will soon need cars, and companies like Ford and Nissan aren’t wasting any time trying to snatch up the new customers.

Their method of mass-marketing? Twitter, of course.

Land Rover’s Middle East account tweeted out a new campaign featuring a women’s handbag, contents spilled out, with the overlay text: “Adventure awaits you.”

Ford Motors’ campaign featured a women’s eyes shown in the reflection of a review mirror, surrounded by a black background – reminiscent of a niqab, the Islamic face veil that covers all but the eyes, but which is not required for Saudi women.

Lexus, Toyota and Nissan also joined in on the trend, showcasing women (or women’s body parts) and their cars. The companies were sure to maintain some level of modesty in their advertisements, as Saudi Arabia remains a largely conservative country, aside from the latest motor-related developments. Lexus’s tweet featured only a woman’s finger – recognizable by a coat of pink nail polish – and Nissan’s left out women entirely, favoring a license plate with the word “Girl” written both in English and Arabic.

The newly-reversed decision means that employment opportunities for women will likely increase. However, it remains unclear whether women will be able to drive on their own or if they will still be required to have a male guardian with them. Human rights groups and women’s activists – individually and collectively – have encouraged an end to the rules.


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